St. Olaf News

 

Regents Hall featured in ‘The World’s Greenest Buildings’

A new book highlighting "the world's greenest buildings" features St. Olaf College's Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

A new book highlighting “the world’s greenest buildings” features St. Olaf College’s Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

St. Olaf College’s Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is highlighted in The World’s Greenest Buildings, a new book from Routledge Publishing.

The authors, Jerry Yudelson and Ulf Meyer, examined hundreds of the highest-rated “green” buildings around the world and profiled what they believe to be the top 49 examples of sustainable architecture, design, and performance.

Regents Hall, which the book notes “is perhaps the most prominent expression of the college’s 23-year-old sustainability agenda,” is one of just five U.S. academic buildings highlighted.

The book’s in-depth profile of Regents Hall praises the facility’s emphasis on green chemistry, a growing movement that seeks to reduce the hazardous waste created during laboratory experiments. It also highlights the building’s rooftop rainwater collection system and “green” roof, as well as a number of other features aimed at energy efficiency.

Regents Hall's rooftop garden is one of the features noted in a new book highlighting "the world's greenest buildings."

Regents Hall’s rooftop garden is one of the features noted in a new book highlighting “the world’s greenest buildings.”

The result of the reduced energy usage is an estimated annual utility savings of $452,600 compared to a standard building.

“We designed the building so we could support an innovative science program without imposing a huge operating cost increase on the overall college budget,” Assistant Vice President for Facilities Pete Sandberg says in the profile. “Our goal is stewardship of the resources that families have committed to their children’s educations.”

Regents Hall earned platinum certification — the highest rating attainable — from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The nearly 200,000-square-foot, $63 million building is the largest and most complex academic facility in the nation to earn the prestigious platinum rating.

Since opening in fall 2008, the building has become an invaluable teaching tool for the nearly 40 percent of St. Olaf students who pursue a major or concentration in the natural sciences or mathematics.

“Regents Hall is the building we would have built even if LEED didn’t exist,” Sandberg says. “It’s that important to St. Olaf to provide the best teaching environment it can.”